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What Are the Options for a Parent Who Cannot Pay Child Support?

Posted on in Illinois Family Law

shutterstock_1456860602-1.jpgWhen a court issues a child support order as part of a divorce or family law case, a parent will be required to pay support as ordered. This support is meant to ensure that children’s ongoing needs will be provided for. Since failure to pay support may affect children’s ability to receive the necessary nutrition and have a safe place to live, judges will not look kindly on a person who has not met their obligations. 

However, there are many situations where a parent may find it difficult or impossible to pay child support as ordered while also meeting their own needs. This has been a significant concern for many during the COVID-19 pandemic. Those who have lost their jobs may have struggled to make child support payments while also paying for their own living expenses. The situation may be even more serious for parents who have contracted Covid, and in addition to being unable to earn an income while recovering, some have experienced ongoing health issues that have affected their ability to work and made it impossible for them to provide financial support for their children.

While courts may recognize that a person has experienced difficulties in their life, a parent will be legally obligated to meet the requirements of a child support order as long as it is in effect. In addition to making ongoing payments, any missed payments will need to be made up, and interest will be applied to the past-due amount. Failure to pay child support can also lead to a number of other penalties, and in some cases, a judge may decide to hold a person in contempt. This could lead a judge to put a parent on probation or suspend their driver’s license, or the parent may even be sentenced to up to six months in prison. During a prison sentence, arrangements may be put in place allowing for release at certain days and times to ensure that a person can work, with some or all of the income they earn going toward child support payments. 

To avoid penalties, a parent will want to take action quickly to address any issues that may affect their ability to pay child support. Following the loss of a job or other issues that may affect their income, a parent may file a petition to modify child support. After reviewing the details of the situation, a judge may allow for a temporary decrease in child support, or more permanent modifications may be put in place if necessary. Existing child support orders will need to be followed until any modifications are made. However, modifications may be retroactive to the date the petition was filed. By filing a petition immediately after the onset of financial issues, a parent who pays child support can avoid additional problems and make sure they will be able to maintain financial stability as much as possible.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Support Modification Lawyers

If you have lost your job, or if other issues have affected your ability to pay child support, Farooqi & Husain Law Office can help you determine your best options. We will work with you to petition the court for modifications to your child support order, and we will help you find solutions that will allow you to meet your needs while also making sure your children will be provided for. Contact our DuPage County child support attorneys today at 630-909-9114 to get legal help with your case.


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